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After 40-mumble years of higher education-based computer science instruction, what do we know about how students learn computing? What can students accomplish after one year? What common problems exist? While anecdotal answers can be gathered to all these questions through a post to the CS educators listserv – what 'real' data do we have to answer these questions? In this talk, I'll review recent highlights of work in describing the competencies and behaviors of novice programmers. I'll discuss the potentials for quantitative and qualitative studies, describe work in progress in the area of resources students bring to the study of computing and analysis of novice bug location strategies. Finally, I'll overview a planned study to identify skills critical to beginning software developers in industry.